Kimmie Dyer graduated from Wittenberg in 2012 with a major in Business. In 2011 she was NCAA National Tournament MVP while leading the Tigers to a Division III National Championship. Shortly after graduation, she started working in finance at JP Morgan in Columbus, OH. After two years there, she began looking into to becoming a nurse. While JP Morgan gave her great experience in the professional world, she needed something more rewarding and meaningful. Kimmie went to school at Mount Carmel College of Nursing and did their Second Degree Accelerated Program. Since finishing the program two years ago, she has been working as a nurse in the ICU at Grant Medical Center in Columbus.
"Spending four years at Wittenberg balancing academics, volleyball, and a part time job really prepared me for the intensity of being an ICU nurse. My days are challenging and I'm constantly learning new things. Time management, attention to detail, and discipline are essential in my job, as they were during my time as a student-athlete at Witt. Some days, working in the ICU is comparable to competing on the volleyball court. I use many of the same mental skills, and I rely heavily on my coworkers much like I relied on my teammates. My time at Wittenberg undoubtedly helped prepare me for the intensity of working in the ICU."
What led you to taking this trip?
"I learned about the trip through a coworker, who goes on different mission trips each year and always invites any ICU nurses to come along. This particular mission trip to Kenya intrigued me because it was medical, and I loved the idea of being able to incorporate my job, traveling, and helping other people."
Did your 2010 trip to Spain with the volleyball team help you prepare or handle anything on this trip?
"Leading up to the trip I was excited and nervous. I had never done something so far outside my comfort zone. Traveling to Spain with the volleyball team was the only time I had traveled abroad. I was thankful for that experience and thought back on it many times leading up to the trip and while I was in Kenya. My trip to Spain helped prepare me to be outside of my comfort zone for a long period of time. It also prepared me to be open minded and respectful to a culture that was different than mine. Our team worked closely with the Kenyans to perform the tasks at hand, and we learned a lot from each other. I wanted to gain a new perspective and learn as much as I could from the people of Kenya, much like I did while in Spain. One of my favorite lessons I learned in Spain is no sleeping on the train rides!! I tried my best to stay awake on our van rides to each new city in Kenya and saw some of the best scenery along the way!"
What did you do while you were there? A few favorite memories?
"While in Kenya, we hosted two medical/eye/dental clinics for people in two different villages. We collaborated with Kenyan doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to make it possible. It was very eye-opening to see how few Kenyans have regular access to medical care, whether for financial reasons or lack of transportation (we provided services, medications, and transportation for free). It was so wonderful to see the joy people got from getting a pair of glasses and being able to see again!
In addition, we performed cataract surgery on 9 patients over the course of a few days. The patients in need were identified at the clinic and taken to a nearby hospital for surgery. An American Ophthalmologist who came on the trip with us performed the surgeries, and I was able to scrub-in and assist him with all 9 surgeries. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip, but also one of the most challenging! We had many obstacles, such as power outages in the middle of surgery, broken equipment, and language barriers with the patients. Being able to see the patients' reactions when they realized they could see again after surgery made all the hardships well worth it!
The second half of the trip we worked on a sponsorship program with one of the local elementary schools. We worked with the teachers to take pictures of all the children and create a website to give people the opportunity to sponsor the kids. Each sponsorship gives a child a school uniform, school supplies, a backpack, and two hot meals a day. It was interesting to learn about the challenges children face with regards to education, and how just a little bit can go such a long way for them.
The last few days of the trip we were fortunate enough to go on a safari at Maasai Mara. One morning we took a hot air balloon ride over the park, which was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. The safari was amazing, and it was a nice reward for the team after two weeks of hard work."
Wittenberg's Mission Statement includes "Wittenberg challenges students to become responsible global citizens." What advice would you give to a current student at Witt?
"Traveling abroad and working in this type of a capacity with people of a different culture is incredibly eye-opening and challenging, but so rewarding. It gives you a brand new perspective on life when you see the way different parts of the world live. If you are presented with an opportunity to do a service trip abroad, take it! You will learn so much from the people you interact with. Wittenberg does a great job preparing students to be compassionate, to give back, and to thrive in difficult situations."